Tall Poppy.

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Jun 10, 2011 12:24
I met an Australian guy, and he told me about an Australian saying, 'tall poppy'. He explained me that poppies are tall flowers. If you're very successful in Australia, you may be called a tall poppy, taller than any other surrounding poppies, and people may try to chop your head off. They don't like to see a tall poppy in a flower garden. You have to pretend to be a short poppy to avoid trouble.

I had never heard about this saying, and I was rather surprised. I thought Western countries, especially English-speaking Anglo-Saxon countries like Australia, are generally based on individualism. I thought their society encourages each person to be distinct from others.

However, it seems that this doesn't apply to Australia. I'm curious about how Australian people developed this mind in their history.

In fact, Japanese people also have a saying with the same saying meaning as 'tall poppy'. It's 出る杭は打たれる. This can be translated like "An outstanding peg is to be hammered". This concept is widely accepted even in elementary schools. Most children learn how to make themselves similar to their friends. It may be ideal to prepare future 'salarymen', Japanese business men. However, it's not suitable for future prime ministers and scientists.